With many international travel restrictions still in place, more people than ever will be opting for ‘staycations’ in Northern Ireland. This article provides the results of a spatial analysis looking at whether social distancing is possible on some of our most popular beaches.
The results were calculated using a mapping software and creating socially distant bubbles across the area of the beach. Each bubble has a 1m radius and is designed to house one individual. A 2m space between each bubble was also incorporated into the analysis to allow for freedom of movement as people navigate between sea and shore, towel and ice-cream. The method was taken from a recent ESRI UK analysis on British beaches.
The area of the beach to be studied was taken from Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI) ground cover data and included the intertidal zone. The expanse of Portrush’s West Strand that was analysed, as well as a sampling of the socially distant bubbles, can be seen in Figure 1.
The results of other popular Northern Ireland beaches are below.
|Benone (including Downhill)||93,333|
|Portrush (West Strand)||4797|
Table 1: The capacity of some our popular beaches, taking into account social distancing guidance
We also examined a somewhat larger beach, at Murlough in County Down.
With most beaches now open to the public, the NI Executive encourages people to enjoy their natural surroundings but to adhere to social distancing and continue to practice good hand hygiene. They ask you to choose quiet locations, quiet times, to keep roads clear for locals and emergency services and to take your litter home with you. For more information please visit NI Direct.